Saturday, June 24, 2017

Aline Barnsdall: A 1920 Vignette

Aline and Betty Barnsdall, August 1921, passport photo.

During the planning and construction of her Olive Hill compound with FLW and son in 1920 Aline Barnsdall maintained an office in Room 715 in the historic Merritt Building designed by San Francisco's Reid Brothers in 1914 at the northwest corner of 8th and Broadway a few blocks south of the Wright's Laughlin Building office. It seems likely that she was still in town to meet Schindler in December before she was off to Europe and Wright was off to Japan.

Merritt Building, nw corner of 8th St. and Broadway, Los Angeles, 1915, Reid Brothers, architects.

Aline and daughter Betty, a later Taliesin Fellow (see two below), were then residing in a modest 1919 bungalow designed by architect C. H. S. Marshall on Stanley Ave. just south of Hollywood Blvd. half way between the future sites of Wright's Storer and Freeman Houses. Barnsdall also owned a ranch in San Juan Township in Orange County at this time.

1645 Stanley Ave., Hollywood, 1919, C. H. S. Marshall, architect. From Google Maps

Taliesin Fellows at Etta Hocking's market in Dodgeville before the first trip to Arizona, 1935. Front row (kneeling left to right) Abe Dombar, Iovanna Wright, Jim Thompson; 2nd row: Etta Parsons, Etta's mother, Etta's husband, Bob Mosher; 3rd row: Peter Frankel, Mabel Morgan, Bill Bernoudy, Jack Howe, Will Schwanke's wife, Mrs. Wright, Mary Thomson, Hulda Brierly Drake, Alfie Bush; 4th row: Cornelia Brierly, Don Thompson, Bud Shaw, Fred Langhorst, Benny Dombar, Will Schwanke, Bob Bishop, Mr. Wright, Betty Barnsdall, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.; last row: unknown, John Lautner, Edgar Tafel, Mary Bud Lautner, Bruce Sims Richards. From Tales of Taliesin: A Memoir of Fellowship by Cornelia Brierly, Pomegranate, San Francisco, 2000, p. 20.

For much more on Barnsdall's creation of the Los Angeles Little Theatre in 1916 and events leading up to the completion of her Olive Hill residence in 1921 see my "R. M. Schindler, Edward Weston, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright,Lawrence Tibbett, Reginald Pole, Beatrice Wood and Their Dramatic Circles."